The newly appointed Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun, will travel to Asia next week to meet with counterparts in Beijing, Seoul, and Tokyo to discuss denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. As the Trump administration works to mitigate the nuclear threat posed by Kim Jong Un, North Korea has other dangerous tricks up its sleeve: cyberattacks and chemical weapons.

Although they tend to occupy less space in the public imagination – no mushroom clouds and not nearly as many blockbuster movies – and lack the same capacity for devastating destruction, cyberattacks and chemical and biological weapons are nonetheless substantive threats.

On Thursday, the U.S. Justice Department announced that it filed a criminal complaint against North Korean intelligence operative Park Jin Hyok for his role in 2014 cyberattacks on Sony. He has also been linked to the devastating WannaCry attacks that shut down hundreds of thousands of computers around the world, including those at hospitals.

As for chemical and biological weapons, although North Korea denies having any, analysis from the United States and South Korea has determined that it does. After the Korean War, looking to counter the threat of the United States, North Korea developed a dual-use chemical industry that had both economic and military capacity and, due to the cost of nuclear weapons development, has continued to develop chemical and biological weapons.

This is further demonstrated by interceptions of materials designated for export to North Korea that are used in building these weapons. In the 1990’s, Japanese authorities stopped a shipment of chemicals to be used in the production of Sarin and in 2004 it came out that both China and Malaysia had illegally exported chemicals to be used in producing hydrogen cyanide and Tabun.

North Korea has also refused to join the Chemical Weapons Convention that would give it access to the economically beneficial treaty controlled chemical trade. That would require that the country not produce, develop, stockpile or retain chemical weapons. In 2017, Kim Jong Nam, Kim Jong Un’s half-brother, was assassinated at the airport in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with a nerve agent – an attack that was determined to have come from the North Korean government. That incident demonstrated that not only did North Korea have the capacity to develop these weapons but that it was also willing to do so if politically expedient.

Adding to the concern, in 2018 a leaked report from the United Nations Panel of Experts found that North Korea had supplied equipment to produce chemical weapons to Bashar Assad in Syria.

Although nuclear arms pose a singularly devastating threat, when it comes the power to disrupt world order, countries like North Korea that once saw nuclear arms as the key to international power have other, cheaper tools at their disposal as well. Clearly, North Korea recognizes the potential impact of these attacks. Cyberattacks are far less costly and, unlike a nuclear strike, can be used to obtain additional funds, hold key industries hostage and have other real, short term impacts. Chemical weapons, in addition to their military potential, can be used to take out rivals – even in foreign countries – and provided to support U.S. enemies elsewhere.

Mitigating the threat of nuclear arms around the world must remain a priority, but before the threat of North Korea can truly be considered eliminated, the U.S. and President Trump must also be prepared to confront Kim Jong Un on other weapons.